Whether it's shown through tummy rubs, long walks early in the morning, or providing your pooch with the nutritious dog food they need, pet parents are always expressing their love to their dogs. And while they may have long suspected that those dogs love them back, now there's evidence that love has a real impact.
Love hormone helps dogs complete tasks
A team of researchers from Monash University in Australia discovered that the "love hormone" oxytocin helps dogs bond with humans for their famous connection as man's best friends, according to the Australian Broadcasting Cooperation. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for giving mothers and their children such strong bonds, but the effects are mimicked when dogs and humans interact as well.Published in the journal Animal Cognition, the study tested the effectiveness of oxytocin by having dogs follow cues. Some of the 31 male and 31 female dogs were given a saline placebo, while others were given oxytocin. Those who were given the actual hormone through a nasal spray had improved performance over dogs who didn't have the chemical, ABC reported. This performance boost lasted for 15 days following the experiment.Oxytocin in dogs and its effect on following cues likely came from the symbiotic relationship between dogs and humans that developed over millennia."I think first that dogs may be the best example of human beings being God," Paul Zak, neuro-economist and professor of neurology at Loma Linda University in California, who wasn't involved with the study, told Good Morning America. "We created this almost perfect other social creature. They understand us and will always love us. Dogs are very empathetic and they have greater empathy."
Not every dog is great at following directions, but this doesn't mean that your beloved pooch doesn't love you. Regardless of oxytocin levels, there are a number of other factors that can play into whether your pooch listens to you, such as distractions or confusing commands.To get your dog to listen to you, you need to train them to respond to your voice, follow specific commands and be ready for direction. Follow some of these useful tips for training your dog:
- Don't vary your commands - When you're teaching a puppy everything from where to use the bathroom to what "sit" means, it's important that you give them consistency and therefore a chance to learn. In addition to saying the same word or phrase every time, you have to ensure that everyone in your home is doing the same thing. If you confuse your dog with too many commands, they'll struggle to learn.
- Show love - There's no need to hide your affection. Just as you're vocal when your dog misbehaves, positive reinforcement is a critical aspect of training your pooch. You can use treats or just plain praise and belly rubs.
- Control your feelings and tone - You don't want to show your dog anger or frustration no matter how angry or frustrated you are. It's not their fault they're struggling with the training. The best thing for everyone involved is to hide these strong emotional responses. Instead, use your dog's ability to pick up on emotions to your advantage. Use a strong tone to convey what you want from your pooch without English.
- Try to think like a dog - As the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explained, the best way to train your dog is to think about how they actually learn. They don't "listen" to the words you say, but they can observe and associate actions or words with rewards or consequences.
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